The new high jewelry collections have always been the main highlight of the Biennale des Antiquaires for jewelry connoisseurs, but the presence of antique jewelry at the fair is starting to take a larger sliver of the pie. Of the 89 exhibitors this year, only sixteen focus on jewelry, including just three who specialize in the antique variety. However, a few high jewelry brands have realized the demand for exceptional signed antique jewels is growing and have started accumulating collections of their own vintage pieces.
Most notably, Van Cleef & Arpels curates its own Heritage Collection, which offers a mixture of rare collectible pieces as well as more fun, wearable jewels. The French jewelry house now brings a handful of the best pieces to the shows it participates in year round, including the Biennale and TEFAF.
To my delightful surprise, Cartier has followed suit at this year’s Biennale and introduced a selection of rare, covetable antique pieces in tandem with the Royal Cartier high jewelry collection. A bit of a different strategy than Van Cleef & Arpels’ approach, the antique collection focuses heavily on museum-worthy jewels, watches, and objets made by the maison before 1965.
Jewelry from the Art Deco period was the most prominent at the Biennale, with highlights including a ‘tutti frutti’ bracelet by Cartier New York, circa 1931; a pair of ruby and diamond pendant earrings by Cartier London, circa 1931; a platinum, carved emerald (15.00 carats), natural pearl and diamond bracelet by Cartier New York, circa 1930; and a gem-set ancient Egyptian faience brooch by Cartier London, circa 1923.
With even more competition in the market, it will be interesting to see how these in-house vintage collections will affect the antique jewelry market, from the auction houses to the dealers as well.
Here are a few highlights from Cartier’s Antique Pieces collection, a good number of which had already sold at the Biennale.Cartier Debuts A Selection of Antique Pieces at the Biennale The new high jewelry collections have always been the main highlight of the Biennale des Antiquaires for jewelry connoisseurs, but the presence of antique jewelry at the fair is starting to take a larger sliver of the pie.
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